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Jennings students focus on self-sustaining energy PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, April 20, 2014 8:00 PM


Staff Writer

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FORT JENNINGS — Jeff Jostpille’s Environmental Sciences students have had their hands full with a variety of eco-friendly projects in the past few years, including implementing a windmill, solar panels and installing a 1,000-gallon water tank in their STEM building. In the near future, three new solar panels will be up and running providing self-sustaining free energy in the Mary Lou Altenburger Outdoor Science Lab.

“The windmill creates enough energy to run the electric for lighting the STEM building as well as charging the battery-operated water pump,” Jostpille explained.

He said the solar panels are the next project to complete and he has talked with Vantage for assistance with the installation.

Currently, students are busy tending to the crops of tomato, cabbage, kale and annual flower seedlings, which were started by seed and will be transplanted into the garden beds soon.

“We will plant cool season crops next week,” Jostpille said. “The other crops will have to wait until close to the end of the school year.”

The students are preparing the garden beds by amending and enriching the soil with compost. Jostpille said he and the students are meeting at the Van Wert County Solid Waste Management District to pick up the amendment and bring it back to school grounds for placement on the bed spaces.

“They are doing this on a Saturday, their day off,” Jostpille said proudly.

High School Principal Nicholas Langhals has also been instrumental in assisting with future projects.

“He has been working on a grant with the intent of securing the funds needed for a paved bike path encompassing the school and connecting the sidewalk systems.

Jostpille explained a future project will be a berry garden with a grape arbor, raspberries and gooseberries.

“The grant is through Jerry Lewis and McDonald’s,” Jostpille said. “We may be able to acquire $400 for our fruit trees.”

At this time, the lab hosts a self-pollinating orchard with Gala, Granny Smith and Red Delicious apple trees.

The four junior students — Lexi Heitmeyer, Chad Wurst, Gabby Clippinger and Austin Kehres — have also been working on signage indicating the common and Latin names for the 65 evergreen, shade and ornamental trees located in the lab and on the school property.

Students in the class agree working outside, helping with the school and making the environment nice for others is enjoyable.

“It’s good getting kids involved with yard work, learning responsibility and how to work together,” Clippinger said.

Wurst said it’s a lot of maintenance and hard work.

Jostpille and the students spoke on classroom projects they worked on through the school year.

“Each had a set of kits they put together,” Jostpille detailed. “One was a windmill where they designed and competed to see which one would lift the most weight.”


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